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Leaving nothing to chance

Leaving nothing to chance

July 18, 2009

The Mid South Division of the Premier Development League became much clearer on Friday night at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex.

The Laredo Heat didn't have to play the waiting game after all, clinching the division with a 1-0 victory over the West Texas Sockers (7-5-3, 24 points).

"It was a difficult match, in which we gave it our all," Heat midfielder Juan De Dios Ibarra said.

"Now we wait for (next) Saturday and do it all over again.

"We knew this team came to play their best game, like every other team that plays us. So thank God that we came out on top."

The Heat (7-1-8, 29) won its third divisional title in five years and has now officially qualified in all its five years of existence.

"It's awesome," the Heat's general manager J.J. Vela said. "This is what our season has been like.

The ties ended up coming in handy; this was a hard season due to all the injuries we suffered. The guys played hard, and they deserve this."

The Heat's chances of winning were complicated with the loss of Dionisio Infante, Esteban Bayona and Greg Mulamba, Infante and Bayona due to cards and Mulamba to an injury.

Helping the Heat was that captain Danny Galvan was able to play. "The fact that we won shoes the character of the team," Vela said.

Heat defender Carlos Ordaz added," This team is made up of 25 players for a reason. While some may not start they are waiting for their opportunity to come up and they have to be ready."

While the players were happy to leave all the postseason worrying to the other clubs, they were quick to realize,what lies ahead.

"At the moment we are happy," Ordaz said. "The effort that we put tonight gave us the result we wanted.

We played against the second-best team in the league in my opinion."

The win was far from easy, but in the end the Heat's defender Soamy Bautista found himself at the right place and at the right time to knock in his biggest goal of his career.

The current Dustdevil didn't join the team to help offensively, but in the 64th minute off a corner kick attempt that bounced around, Bautista made sure to deliver on the chance he had.

It was his fourth goal with the Heat; he has zero goals in two years with TAMIU.

Bautista wasn't the only player to come up big for the club. In the 88th minute, the Sockers' Ben Everson fired a laser to the right top corner that seemed destined to tied the game up before Heat goalkeeper Ryan Cooper made a diving safe for a corner kick.

That was the Sockers' best attempt on the night, as the Heat defense limited them to only three shots on goal. The Sockers' defense wasn't too shabby either, limiting Laredo to five shots on goal.

Their goalie Craddock Lief had a great save in the 52nd minute, in which he blocked an Ibarra blast from outside the box.

The divisional title gives Laredo the right to host the playoffs next week.

The second and third-seed teams are still to be determined.

The Austin Aztex (7-4-5, 26) tied the El Paso Patriots (7-6-2, 23) 1-1 on Friday, while The Rio Grande Valley Bravos (6-4-5, 23) beat the Dallas-Fort Worth Tornados, 1-0.

The Patriots play the winless Houston Leones on Saturday and can match the Aztex at 26 points.

If the Bravos lose on Sunday, the Sockers take second place and the Aztex take third.

If the Bravos win, they take over the second seed and the Aztex the third.

The second and third seeds will play between Tuesday and Thursday at the second's seed home.

The divisional championship is taking place on Saturday.

A final option is for both the two and three seed to play in Laredo on Friday.